How to Help Girls with ADHD in School - Parents Guide by Reynolds ClinicThe Reynolds Clinic LLC
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12 Tips For Parents With Girls Having ADHD

It is harder to recognize girls with ADHD because their symptoms are less obvious compared with the boys’. While boys with ADHD are hyperactive in most cases and interrupt others explicitly, girls don’t behave the same way.

According to Benedetto Vitiello, M.D. of the National Institute of Mental Health, talking endlessly is one sign of a girl having ADHD.  These girls strive hard being quiet and have the tendency to interrupt other people who are talking. With this, they can appear bossy and demanding of their peers’ attention and yet they couldn’t give them the attention they need because girls with ADHD are predominantly inattentive.

According to Kathleen Nadeau, Ph.D. of the Chesapeake ADHD Center, girls are not resistant as compared with boys. They are more well behaved and hardly cause any trouble. Oftentimes they don’t give their teachers a headache in class. Boys behave differently. Boys with ADHD can hardly sit still and their symptoms are mostly physical in nature. Girls know how to follow directions, can control too much movement, but they tend to show signs in other ways such as inattentiveness, endless talking, difficulty finishing tasks, lack of organization, and social issues.

How to Help Girls with ADHD in School

helping your daughter with adhd in school

A psychology professor in University of California, Berkeley named Stephen Hinshaw, Ph. D. has conducted research on girls with ADHD issues and have proven that students with attention problems are likely to fail in their academics. For this reason, it is important that parents need to know how to handle and help their daughters with ADHD succeed in their academic lessons.

Tip #1:  Partnership with the school.

The inattentiveness and endless chatter that your daughter with ADHD exhibits in the class will greatly affect her academic performance. It is a must that you seek the teachers and the school assistance on how you can make it easy to help your child get good grades.

Oftentimes, schools offer remedial classes and other support services. A child with ADHD needs individualized program to help her out with learning her lessons.

Tip #2: Have your child evaluated.

The National Center for Health Statistics claim that 50 percent of girls with ADHD exhibit problems in terms of their academic performance. Ask the school’s psychologist to evaluate your child for any learning disability that hampers her ability to understand the lessons and get better grades. If the results show these learning issues, then your child is qualified for academic guidance and you can ask for help her improve her school performance.

Tip #3: Plan to achieve your objectives.

Part of working out to improve your daughter’s academic performance is to set goals that you can work with her. Ask the help of her teacher to motivate her in the classroom by giving rewards for improved behavior or increased attentiveness. For every successful effort, the teacher can offer her rewards that she enjoys. She might like certain tasks such as being in charge of handling the passing of papers, or she might be given extra time at recess.

Ask the teacher how you can help your daughter control her impulsive talking and pay more attention in class. Always keep in touch with the teacher  and ask how she has been meeting behavior goals and offer her your own rewards or benefits for a job well done. Rewards are meant to motivate them to practice better behavior so that the ultimate goal of improved grades can be achieved. Eventually there will be no need for any incentives.

Tip #4: Find ways to help her talk less.

If your daughter is seated near her friend and finds it hard to refrain from talking to her during class time, then the teacher can find ways to move her away from her friends. This will prevent her from chatting with them and can help her focus on the lessons. Some teachers make these type of students sit in front of them as they regularly find ways to get her focus back when her mind starts to drift away.

There are some strategies that teachers can do to help reduce classroom chatter. One is to give the child a notebook to write notes they hear during the lessons or write what they think instead of saying them. Instill the importance of respect by not interrupting the class.  Give her an outlet that can help her practice these traits.

Tip #5: Put her in a smaller class.

The larger a class is, the more chances for your daughter to become distracted and left unsupervised. A smaller class is easy to manage and with a few established routines and rules, your daughter can be given special attention. There will be less to disturb and a few peers to talk to. Ask the school if your daughter can be moved to a smaller class so that her needs will be attended to.

Tip #6:  Give her the right medication.

Doctors prescribe children with ADHD with medication at the right dosage. However, some medication may need the right timing and dosage in order to become more effective. A doctor may suggest taking a pill morning and evening but if you realize that the pill is better taken during noontime instead of during night time because it seems to  help improve her focus at school, then you can try changing the timing and see if it would be more effective that way. However, it is necessary that you inform the doctor about the changes and ask for his comments. Keep in touch with him to talk about other issues that might need another medication or an increase in dosage of the existing ones.

Tip #7:  Develop her homework habits.

Girls with ADHD have difficulty organizing their things and time. They might forget their homework or notebook in school, or fail to bring the homework the next day. They have a hard time focusing on long assignments so it is your duty as a parent to guide her through with it. Be patient to give her breaks in between as you cut the assignment into smaller tasks so that it will be easier for her to do.  It is a big challenge to make her complete a difficult and long assignment at one time.

Another way would be to set a schedule everyday for homework. Dr. Quinn suggests making it a part of her regular routine to do her assignments at a conducive setting away from disturbance. If she always leaves her homework, ensure that she puts it inside her bag after completion and set aside a folder or space that she can put them and easily locate when needed.

Check on your daughter’s assignments every day so that you know how to guide and help her. Connect with fellow parents of the same class or teacher and ask about the homework.

Tip #8: Help your daughter organize.

Most girls with ADHD have difficulty getting ready for school every morning which affect their punctuality.  Set her schedule to include a routine to start her tasks early at night so that she can sleep early. Help her manage her priorities and prepare the things she need so that they are ready every day. Help her not to leave important things by ensuring that they are on a specific place or table every morning. This will help prevent leaving things behind. Remind her of school events and other commitments she needs to attend to.

Tip #9: Help her develop her social skills.

It is hard for girls with ADHD to be accepted by her classmates because of the way they talk incessantly and interrupt others when they blurt out their comments. They struggle with relationship issues and suffer the pain of rejection. Her classmates may not invite her to their party because they don’t like her acting so bossy. Girls with ADHD don’t understand these social cues which is why they keep doing as they want and find it hard to make friends and keep them.

One way to help her socialization issues is to get her involved in sports and other physical activities. Your daughter is active and this is just what sports is all about. They can refocus her energy into it and exercise can help improve cognitive abilities. Physical activities can also help manage ADHD signs according to a research by Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. Sports help build confidence and can greatly help in building relationships with others with the same interest.

Tip #10:  Take her to social lessons.

One way to help your daughter understand the importance of controlling the urge to interrupt when someone is talking is to role play and let her feel how it is when she talks and someone disrupts her. Or you can show her how she acts when she starts talking endlessly so that you can mirror to her how she looks in front of others. This is one way to help her realize the effects of her actions or habits on others and help her curb them.

Another way to help is to take social lessons and academic support. The school counselor can help by letting her join social skills training events. The Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) offers programs of this type to help ADHD children build their self-esteem and improve their overall performance.

Tip #11: Encourage her to succeed.

A child who hears a praise becomes motivated at what she has achieved. Likewise, promoting her talents can greatly help her succeed. If she is good at sports or drawing, give her lots of opportunities to develop and become good at it. Be there when she spends time practicing her skills and ensure that you compliment her and help her succeed.

Tip #12: Teach her to manage her issues.

Dr. Quinn suggests giving cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to girls with serious attention and self-esteem issues. CBT is a kind of therapy that helps challenge negativities as it helps one focus on a problem.

Girls with ADHD may also have depression issues. It is the responsibility of the parents to help prevent this from happening by ensuring she gets the right amount of sleep and get things done so that she prevents stress. Be observant of the signs of depression such as preference to be alone, anxiety feelings or changes in her habits. You may need a therapist or doctor to assist her out.

Girls at a young age can be taught how to manage stressful situations. Simple techniques such as breathing deeply, inhaling, exhaling and mind conditioning can be learned. It may not be that easy for younger children but eventually they will learn it if given the chance to practice. When your daughter is older, she will understand the benefits of meditation, yoga, and other ways to manage stress.

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